Who is the Inventor of the Aerobie Aeropress?
Everyone knows Aeropress brews a delicious cup of coffee. But how much do you know about the history of this famous coffee maker? For example, did you know Alan Adler invented it, a man with no formal engineering education? He didn’t even have a history in the coffee industry!
Read on to learn how a simple quest for a better cup of coffee produced a multi-million-dollar company and changed coffee brewing habits worldwide.
A Brief Biography of Alan Adler
Alan Adler invented the Aeropress. While that is his claim to fame in the coffee industry, it is far from his only notable accomplishment. Adler has been an engineer and creative thinker who holds over 40 patents.
He was born in Detroit in 1938 but grew up in Los Angeles. Neither of his parents was an engineer, but he showed an aptitude for invention at an early age, creating toys and trinkets to trade with his friends (1).
Adler is entirely self-taught. As a teenager striking out on his own, he took a job as an electronics technician but soon found himself promoted to engineering tasks. He skipped college, preferring to learn on his own.
I read voraciously. When I first took on the responsibility of being an engineer and designing circuits, I probably read till 1:00 every single night for weeks.
This dedication paid off. He became a prolific inventor, obtaining his first patent in 1960 for a portable lamp, and eventually found himself teaching at Stanford, despite his lack of formal education.
The History of Aerobie, Inc.
Adler founded Aerobie, Inc. in 1984 to market his sports toys, most notably the Aerobie Flying Ring. Accordingly to Adler, he played with a Frisbee when he noticed its impractical thickness. He was confident a thinner Frisbee would fly much farther, and he was right. His invention, the Aerobie, would set a Guinness World Record for the “farthest thrown object.”
In 2005, Aerobie debuted the original Aeropress coffee maker, changing the coffee brewing landscape forever. Millions of Aeropress coffee makers have been sold worldwide, including an Aeropress World Championship and an Aeropress movie.
In 2017, Aerobie sold its toy line and became AeroPress, Inc., focusing solely on coffee gear. In 2019, they released their first new product, the compact Aeropress Go (2). At nearly 85 years old, Adler is still deeply involved in the company.
Inventing the Aeropress
The idea for the Aeropress arose spontaneously. Adler and a friend discussed how hard it is to brew a good single cup of coffee with a drip coffee machine. That conversation planted the seed, and Adler soon went to work inventing a new kind of brewer. He wanted coffee that was sweet and smooth, never bitter.
He wasn’t a coffee expert at the time; he drinks only one or two cups a day now. So he began brewing pour-overs and tasting coffee. He found that lower water temperature yielded a sweeter brew and theorized that a shorter extraction time would have a similar effect. With an espresso machine as inspiration, he used pressure to speed up the brew time. Forty iterations later, the first Aeropress was born!
Watch Alan Adler brew a single cup with his favourite Aeropress recipe in this video:
When you have friends over for coffee, impress them with your Aeropress brewing skills and your knowledge. Tell them how Alan Adler changed the coffee game when he released the Aerobie Aeropress in 2005, making it easier and more affordable for everyone to brew delicious coffee at home or on the go.
No, the Aeropress is not better than the French press, but it is different in two big ways. First, the Aeropress uses air pressure for faster extraction. Second, the Aeropress traditionally uses paper Aeropress filters, while the French press uses a metal filter. So Aeropress coffee is cleaner with a lighter body.
The best Aeropress filter depends on the style of coffee you enjoy. Use the standard paper filter discs for a cleaner cup with subtle flavours. For a fuller-bodied cup and robust flavour, opt for a metal mesh filter that lets coffee oils and fines pass into the coffee.
The Aeropress has been made from durable BPA-free plastic since 2009. Before 2009, the Aeropress was made of BPA-containing polycarbonate. Even though testing showed no BPA leached into the brewing water, the company changed the material to alleviate health concerns.
- Levy, S. (2015, March 16). First Alan Adler Invented the Aerobie, Now He’s Created the Perfect Cup of Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/2015/03/first-alan-adler-invented-the-aerobie-now-hes-created-the-perfect-cup-of-coffee/
- Brown, N. (2019, March 15). AeroPress On the Move with the Forthcoming AeroPress Go. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/03/15/aeropress-on-the-move-with-the-forthcoming-aeropress-go/